Seven men were today jailed for a total of 37 years for their role in a cannabis conspiracy supplying drugs with a street value of nearly £4 million.
The large-scale class B drugs operation was based in Milton Keynes, where drugs were then reduced to smaller quantities before being distributed around the country.
Gang members would travel hundreds of miles on some days to collect large packages of cannabis from two Vietnamese networks.
The group was caught after an undercover operation was launched in July 2014, which lasted almost a year and led to the seizure of drugs with a street value of £3.7 million.
Sentencing the seven men at Aylesbury Crown Court Judge Francis Sheridan said: “We are dealing in this case with a well executed police operation in combating the curse of drug dealing.
“Its basis was a serious organised crime group led by Neil Josling and based in Milton Keynes.
“The tentacles of this conspiracy spread far and wide throughout England and it is also suggested possibly as far as Wales.”
He said this ranged as far as Telford, Leicester, Birmingham, Dagenham and Wakefield.
Five men - Neil Josling, Lee Chivers, Robert Wallman, Marc Daley and Richard Bolden - admitted conspiracy to supply the drugs after being arrested following the covert Thames Valley Police operation.
Two Vietnamese co-defendants - Quan Nguyen and Quang Hai Do - denied involvement and were convicted following a trial. Three further men were sentenced at an earlier date.
Bolden’s home in Glebe Road, Deanshanger, had been used as a base where kilos of drugs were delivered and repackaged for onward sale.
After a surveillance team witnessed Chivers and Wallman arriving at the house with a large holdall on April 27 last year, a warrant was executed and the men were arrested.
As 13 warrants were executed across Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and London that day, 15 people were arrested, £50,000 in cash was seized along with drugs with a street value of £125,000.
While the total amount of drugs trafficked was not known, when police intercepted a delivery they found packages containing 6.8kilos of cannabis.
Ringleader Josling, aged 46 years, admitted there had been up to 17 such deliveries, but detectives believe there were closer to 40.
London operator Nguyen, aged 33 years, was caught with ‘dirty phones’ - linked to numerous drugs deals - at the bottom of his bed and £10,000 in cash in his freezer.
However he insisted he was innocent and the criminal enterprises belonged to other people who frequented his house, which a judge said was an “absurd proposition.”
Judge Sheridan said Nguyen was clearly at the centre of the conspiracy, pointing out that his wife Ha Trinh had admitted handling stolen goods in relation to the frozen money and his son was spotted cheerfully greeting ringleader Josling with a high-five.
Daniel Fugallo, prosecuting, said the organised crime group was “at the heart” of the conspiracy, supplying drugs over a period of nine months.
He said Chivers went “hand in hand” with leader Josling in organising the shipments of cannabis and the pair were spotted colluding at petrol stations on days when significant deals were being made.
Sally Fudge, defending Chivers, said he had “succumbed” to the temptation to work with drugs after being made redundant.
Likewise, Rhodri James, defending Daley, said his client had only taken up an offer of £100 a day with the gang after an injury forced him out of his line of work as a scaffolder.
The judge rejected the suggestion that the two Vietnamese defendants spoke little or no English, saying they had hardly communicated with Josling in “sign language,” and said each man bore responsibility for his involvement.
Judge Sheridan added: “Mr Josling led this conspiracy. He bears a heavy responsibility for involving others who without him may not have come before a court at all. His first lieutenant was Lee Chivers.
“At the other end of the London chain is Quan Nguyen and the man in charge of the delivery of the drugs is Quan Hai Do.”
He sentenced Josling, of Akeley Wood Lodge Road, Akeley, to six years in prison.
Supplier Nguyen, 33, of High Street, Harlsedon, was jailed for nine years and taxi driver Hai Do, aged 59 years, of Heavitree Close in Plumpstead, London, was jailed for six and a half years.
Chivers, aged 52 years, of no fixed abode, was jailed for five years, Wallman, aged 39 years, of Springfield Boulevard, Springfield, Milton Keynes, was jailed for four years and two months and Daley, aged 37 years, of Folly Road, Deanshanger, Northamptonshire, was jailed for three years and eight months.
Bolden, aged 49 years, of Glebe Road, Deanshanger, was jailed for two years and ten months for allowing his home to be the centre of Josling’s “empire.”
Two other men were earlier sentenced after admitting lower level dealing of the gang’s drugs in Milton Keynes.
Michael Roberts, aged 34 years, of Tarry Court, Bradville, Milton Keynes, was jailed for 16 months and David Doel, aged 44 years, of Bradwell Road, Bradville, Milton Keynes, for 18 months.
Tai Tran, aged 31 years, of Beech Close, West Drayton, was jailed for five years after admitting his primary involvement in supplying the drugs to Josling’s gang.
Detective Inspector Bruce Riddell from the Thames Valley Police Serious Organised Crime Unit said: “This drugs gang were supplying large amounts of herbal cannabis to customers in Milton Keynes.
“There was an element of sophistication and organisation to their operation, but through extensive detective work, evidence was obtained that proved the role of each conspirator and the extent of their drug dealing business.
“The sentences today should send a strong message out to those involved or on the periphery of organised crime that we have the resources, experience and dedication to obtain evidence against you no matter how sophisticated you believe you are.”